Original art by @modográfico
There was something disturbingly Black Mirror about the events of yesterday, when a group of rebels were murdered after trying to surrender to the authorities.
It was a #DeathTo moment. In the last episode of the last season, Detective Parke and her team investigate a series of mysterious cases of people getting death threats that are fulfilled after a few days. Turns out, all the victims were targeted in a new Twitter craze, Game of Consequences. People tweeted #DeathTo, and then mentioned folks they thought had done something awful.
Death by hashtag.
That’s what yesterday felt like.
I like good TV. I’m an actress who’s really cocky about being able to tell the difference between a good performance and a poor one, and still I was quick to dismiss what Óscar Pérez was doing. Back in July 2017, when he first rebelled, I retweeted the flying comb meme, I said we should pay more attention to what was happening in the Parliament instead of Rambo Endógeno. I even tweeted “As long as Óscar Pérez doesn’t become the Hugo Chávez of 2020, it’s cool.”
I thought we were witnessing a Cuban plan, a smokescreen. I hate it when they call anyone a “supreme leader”, Leopoldo had just left Ramo Verde and I was paranoid. Also, I hate pretty much everyone who’s perceived as a messianic figure. I’m so ashamed of myself now.
But I’m more ashamed of my compatriots and I’m gonna ride my high horse. What my fellow Venezuelans did yesterday on social media makes me want to go like, #DeathTo @ALL OF YOU. I know, I’m not any better. Allow us, those of us who claim to be compassionate and more civil, to judge the fuck out of you, damned teclado warriors.
We saw his extrajudicial execution online, Black Mirror style.
This might be a show where all the characters are incredulous, arrogant, cruel, selfish, disrespectful assholes who can’t understand that it’ll take all of us being kinder, more united and forgiving, to overthrow a government so we can build an entire country back from the ashes.
In the operativo to capture him, grupos que operan al fucking margen de la fucking ley, colectivos, were involved, empowered and encouraged. Urban paramilitaries, in official capacity, killed Venezuelans under direct orders from the government. And, no, what he did has no resemblance to what el Comandante did in 1992. No civilians died when Óscar Pérez went rogue, hundreds of people did when Chávez decided the democratic way was beneath him. When Chávez surrendered, nobody killed him. Chávez was allowed to talk to the press, the only person who interviewed Pérez was Fernando del Rincón, the only window he had before this was his social media. Chávez had un indulto, our political prisoners don’t even get sunlight. When Chávez launched his coup d’etat, Venezuela was a democracy. This is now a dictatorship installed by Chávez, so don’t even. Chica para que porfa y gracias.
Not gonna say #DeathTo anyone who compares it, because I really want to be a more peaceful person who promotes values so we can fight the crisis, but whoever thinks it’s the same thing tiene muerte cerebral.
Then it struck me that maybe this isn’t Black Mirror.
Maybe the real parallel is closer to home.
I thought back to that viral video from Palmarito. “I can’t watch this,” I thought when I saw the first seconds of the angry mob chasing a cow, determined to beat it to death. Buddy, if you’re strong enough to kill a cow with your hands, maybe you are not that hungry. Maybe you are not that weak. Maybe you’re just a soulless criminal.
Yet we all saw it, we did nothing to stop it. We are the proverbial good people who let the bad ones do evil things and stay silent, only that we also mock, laugh and automatically doubt everything. It’s Black Mirror in Palmarito.
I don’t know, this might be a show where all the characters are incredulous, arrogant, cruel, selfish, disrespectful assholes who can’t understand that it’ll take all of us being kinder, more united and forgiving, to overthrow a government so we can build an entire country back from the ashes. And to get there, you better drop that repulsive cynicism.
Shame on you, heartless Venezuelans on Twitter. Shame on your cows.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.